SPCs: When a few days makes a difference


Anja Lunze and Paul England

SPCs: When a few days makes a difference

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An advocate-general at Europe’s highest court has said SPCs should come into effect once an applicant for a marketing authorisation has been notified of that authorisation. This is good news for SPC owners, say Anja Lunze and Paul England of Taylor Wessing.

On September 10, Advocate-General (AG) Niilo Jääskinen delivered his opinion in a case concerning supplementary protection certificates (SPCs). The case (C-471/14) was brought by Seattle Genetics against the Austrian Patent Office (APO).

US biotechnology company Seattle Genetics had filed a European patent on July 31, 2003 covering “Auristatin conjugates and their use for treating cancer, an autoimmune disease or an infectious disease”. It was granted on July 20, 2011. In the same year, Takeda, which is based in the UK, applied for a marketing authorisation of a pharmaceutical product based on the patent’s active ingredient, brentuximab vedotin. Seattle Genetics’ product trades under the name Adcetris.

The European Commission granted the marketing authorisation on October 25, 2012, pointing out that the “validity of this marketing authorisation … is one year after the notification of this decision”. Takeda was notified of the marketing authorisation five days later—on October 30, 2012 and it was published in the Official Journal of the EU on November 30, 2012.

Anja Lunze, Paul England, Taylor Wessing, SPCs, APO, CJEU, AO